If you have an AC router at home but still suffer from dead zones, you will need an AC signal booster to maximize your router’s range without sacrificing speed. While you can easily get better signal distribution by upgrading, relocating, or even bridging your router, the simplest solution by far is to plug in a WiFi signal booster.
If you don’t currently have any AC-supported devices, it will be more cost effective to pick from one of the best range extenders that use N-band, but if you have an up to date network or plan on upgrading soon, these AC routers are among the best to choose from.
1. NETGEAR EX6200 AC1200
Though some will find the red plastic trim a bit flashy, Netgear’s desktop-style EX6200 range extender is well worth dealing with its form factor for its power and flexibility. One of the most useful features of this extender is its “Fastlane Technology”, which uses the router’s dual band setup to maximize throughput on one band, while using the other to communicate with your router.
The range you get from its robust AC1200 is good as well, making for an ideal combination of speed and range. Setting up the router can be done quickly with WPS if you have the option, otherwise you will activate the router through its simple web interface. From this interface, you can track which locations suffer from interference and which locations can receive a stronger signal, helping you get the most out of your extender. It also has five gigabit ethernet ports to run wired connections wherever you might prefer one, and a USB 3.0 port to network a media device.
Price: $79.99 (9 percent off MSRP)
2. Linksys RE6500 AC1200
The RE6500-FFP from Linksys is a powerful signal extender that offers tremendous range and speed at a low price. This AC1200 WiFi booster will easily reach the most isolated of dead zones, either with its 2.4GHz signal, 5GHz signal, or with a wired connection from one of its four gigabit ethernet ports. Like the EX6200, the RE6500’s dual band wireless can receive information on one band and transmit on the other, or just use both band simultaneously for the best range.
This extender also has an audio jack for connecting a speaker, allowing you to wirelessly stream music to it from any device on the network. Setup can be somewhat of a hassle for this model, but if your device supports WPS, you can avoid having to possibly call their tech support.
3. TP-LINK RE200 AC750
TP-LINK’s RE200 is a no-nonsense wall plug range extender that offers an impressive AC750 extension at an affordable price. Its internal antennas give it a compact design, which makes the incredible dual band range boost it offers even more impressive. Its High Speed mode combines the bandwidth of both WiFi channels for one lightning fast channel that is great for streaming videos or gaming.
This extender also has a non-gigabit ethernet port for wiring distant devices into your network, adding even more flexibility to this device. WPS is fast and easy, but the less-than-perfect instructions can make normal setup take longer than expected. Nonetheless, tech support is available 24/7, and the device is backed by a 2 year warranty, ensuring you will get the maximum use out of this product.
Price: $32.99 (52 percent off MSRP)
4. D-Link Wireless DAP-1520 AC750
D-Link’s DAP-1520 is an elegant wall plug range extender that delivers solid range and performance. While its AC750 speed is not the fastest out there, it is enough to max out most internet services and offers a range boost that can easily bring a signal upstairs or through hallways.
Even if your device is not up to the 802.11ac wireless standard, the dual band DAP-1520 can bring it up to speed by amplifying the signal into the 5GHz band. The graphical user interface is simple, and makes manual setup fairly easy. This is a nice benefit, as WPS setup is reportedly spotty with routers not made by D-Link.
There is also no ethernet port on this unit, which if you are not planning on using anyway, won’t be missed. Aside from these downsides, D-Link’s range extender greatly improves the performance and reliability of your network, and is a solid buy.
5. Amped Wireless REC22A AC1200
The REC22A from Amped Wireless earns a mention because it packs an incredible AC1200 antenna into a fairly compact wall plug range extender. Yes, it is somewhat larger than other wall plug models out there, but the REC22A greatly amplifies WiFi signals with its dual band channels. Its powerful signal makes it great for streaming, and it also includes an ethernet port for a quick wired connection as well. This router does not support WPS setup, but is otherwise rather easy to get up and running.
Once it is, you can analyze and optimize your wireless network with the included app, as well as set up an additional 8 networks for guests and other rooms. The price of this extender is a little more because of the convenient form factor, but considering that Amped Wireless offers models in the same line from N300 all the way to AC1750, the REC22A is a great compromise between price and performance.
Price: $113.99 (12 percent off MSRP)
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